Was the preface to a story Matti told me the other day that got me thinking about how my boisterous little companion affects my everyday life. Obviously, one of the funnest things in the world is being a person with anxiety (said no one, ever). The best part about anxiety is the surprise factor, it’s so fun and unpredictable! Take for instance, bringing Tengo to Petsmart to get food:
Me: “Come on, Tengo, I’m supposed to be getting my period soon, my legs feel like I spent the last week in an uncertified trapeze training class and I’m trying awfully hard to retain my calm, assertive pack leader energy. I need to make The Dog Whisperer proud, damn it! Stop getting so excited! You’ve seen dogs before!”
If any of you know who Maria Bamford is, at the moment, I’m trying my best to to manipulate my voice into calmness. Homegirl can throw her voice like no one I’ve ever heard.
Tengo’s tail is pinwheeling and he has his eye on the German Shepherd puppy approaching the store. As I take three deep breathes, he lunges for the dog, clearly sensing my impending menstruation and intuiting it as weakness.
“HEY! SIT!” Cesar Millan urges us to find a sound that reaches our dog like his “shhh” so mine is “HEY!” It’s more embarrassing for me then attention-grabbing for Tengo. At this point instead of projecting calm and assertive energy, I’m laser-beaming it out through my eyes. Cesar would tell me to envision the result. I’m envisioning the result. Tengo is now running in circles. I’M ENVISIONING THE DAMN RESULT. I’M ENVISIONING TENGO NOT BEING SUCH A FUCKING DOUCHE BAG.
“I SAID SITTTTTTTTTTTT!” At this point, calm is not happening, especially not for someone with anxiety that hasn’t been on medication for years and that counts being a recluse as a valid reaction to societal pressures.
We are now in Petsmart — I refuse to back down, he needs to be fed and I’m not getting the puppy police called on me for leaving Tengo in the car in 150 degree heat. We make our way to the food aisle, Tengo is thankfully submissive, his tail is lowered like we practiced, and I’m confident I have shaken my negative energy off at the door. Tengo has other plans. As he sniffs some plush toys in the middle of the main aisle, he lifts his leg up and starts pissing like a drunk guy in an alley way. Everywhere. On my feet and ankles.
“Are you ffffffffffffff-kidding me!” I start to beg Tengo, “Please, please stop being such an asshole. I even picked you out chicken treats, how could you do this to me?” His face is how I imagine Anthony Weiner’s to be when looking at his wife.
The worst part about all of this is the employee’s acceptance of my dog’s inability to understand my feelings.
“Oh, it’s okay! It happens all the time! He’s just soo excited” Says Carol, from dog grooming. You’re not fooling me Carol, I can sense you only got this job after you retired and realized spending time with pups was easier than being around your husband all day.
Really Carol, is it okay? So will you come to the vintage furniture store that Tengo shit in and explain that to them, too? Actually, matter of fact, come to the park with me too and tell everyone it’s okay as I start screaming his name to come but he’s too busy humping the other dogs.
Anxiety: 1 Aly: 0
Matti and I are driving to the supermarket when we park and the plans for the night are brought up, specifically, the lack of there being any plans.
Me: “I CAN’T HANDLE THIS WHY AREN’T YOU COMMUNICATING BETTER I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE LET ME OUT.” I get out of the car, walk two cars down, and walk back to the car and get inside.
Me: “I HATE THE GROCERY STORE. I DON’T WANT TO GO IN. I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY. YOU’RE JUST GONNA GET FROZEN CHEESE PIZZA AND I CAN’T HAVE ANY BUT YOU’LL GET IT ANYWAY AND I’LL EAT IT AND THEN I’LL BE DEPRESSED AND BLOATED WITH THE RUNS FOR THE NEXT WEEK.”
(Matti sits there calmly like a good fiancée who works as an intake specialist with mentally unstable people every day would.)
Me: AHHHH BUT I’M SO HUNGRY. WHY ARE YOU STILL IN HERE!? WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING TONIGHT? HAVE WE FIGURED OUT A PLACE.?GAHHHH I CAN’T HANDLE THIS PRESSURE. (Starts sobbing while thinking about how good frozen cheese pizza would be right now.)
Anxiety: 2 Aly: 0
Tune in next time to see how I dealt with unexpected car trouble! Spoiler alert: Car seats survive after being assaulted by upper leg sweat!
How do you deal with life’s little surprises?